~the following is part of “Prompted Prose,” a series of posts from the prompts I’m working with during my Spring 2016 online writing course

Perhaps you know the feeling of adult hands upon your slight, pre-school shoulders, firmly guiding you in the direction of the recess line or nap room. The weight of their palms is clear and determined. Not violent, but not negotiable.

Such is the feeling, at age 30, as the contractions build, and my labor is imminent. Yes, there is the tightening of muscles tensing my pelvis like a balloon being blown to capacity. But there is also something else. It is not physical, more like a chemical omnipresence, and it courses through my veins to reach my brain with a inarguable decree. You are no longer in charge here. This is bigger than you. Invisible hands are upon me, moving me along a course with no turnaround.

Eventually, there is an irrepressible urge to push. Everything in this vessel of sinew, bones, and nerves, wants to move this baby down, and out. I give it everything I’ve got with each instruction from my mid-wife. My face and head pulse with the strain of bearing down from crown to root. My partner behind me, wraps his arms around to grip my knees, pulling me open to the sear of nearly splitting.

In the low-lit room, a headlamp illuminates the gateway, ever-widening, but not yet allowing full passage. I’m told to reach my fingers down to feel the real-live, actual baby hair of my child, pressed wet into the world, his head still stuck inside. Our first touch. He is so close, but not coming.

The mid-wife grabs my hazy gaze with alerting eyes. “I want you to call on whatever it is you need to call upon to help you deliver this baby. This is it. He needs to come out now…You can do this.”

courtesy of Chuck Heston
courtesy of Chuck Heston

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